Close-up on Rare Lincoln Documents as “Manhunt” Debuts on Apple TV

The new historical drama series, Manhunt, prompts us to consider historical documents that illuminate the infamous events and people depicted in the show


On March 15, Apple TV debuts Manhunt, the historical drama series based on the New York Times bestselling book by James L. Swanson of the same title, subtitled The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer

Manhunt Apple TV
Courtesy of Apple TV

Starring Hamish Linklater (as Lincoln) Lili Taylor (Mrs. Lincoln), and Tobias Menzies (as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton), Manhunt tells the astonishing story of the hunt for John Wilkes Booth in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The seven-episode series will conclude on April 19. Between now and then, the gripping account of Lincoln’s murder and of Booth’s attempted escape will reenter the national conversation, prompting us to consider some of the real historical documents from that time related to Lincoln and his circle. In fact, Nathan Raab was interviewed on Illinois Public Radio just last week to discuss this era and our recent historical discoveries. Listen here: 

Signed by Lincoln in His Final Days

This official document was signed by Lincoln on the day he gave his final speech, just four days before his assassination. It was not known to have survived and was recently discovered in an old desk. 


Original Newspaper Report from Lincoln’s Assassination

On April 15, 1865, President Lincoln died from wounds sustained the prior evening, when John Wilkes Booth shot him at close range. This original report from the Binghamton Daily Republican (New York) was printed on the day he died, spreading the news of his assassination.   

Lincoln newspaper assassination

Lincoln’s Team of Rivals 

An extraordinary, unique broadside, signed by Abraham Lincoln and his Cabinet, with hand-drawn artwork, it is the only known document bearing the signatures of the Union leadership, presidential, political and military, as the war commenced. Scores of the “Patriots of 1861,” take up the pen together to support the sick and wounded of Bull Run and the onrushing war. 

Lincoln Team of Rivals broadside

Lincoln and Civil War Soldiers

In this signed letter from 1864, Lincoln expresses his personal concern for “our gallant and suffering soldiers” as the Civil War dragged on. Lincoln donated this famous letter and its message to a Sanitary Fair to raise funds for sick and wounded troops.

Lincoln signed letter 1864

Abraham Lincoln on Patriotism 

Famous for building his Team of Rivals, President Lincoln manifests, in this signed 1863 letter, his leadership principle that patriotism must triumph over all personal considerations: “I esteem Gov. Francis Thomas, as an able, and very true man. I do not know that he agrees with me in everything—perhaps he does not; but he has given me evidence of sincere friendship, & as I think, of patriotism.” 

Lincoln signed Letter 1863

Lincoln Documents and Autographs 

To learn more about our Lincoln documents and autographs, visit our dedicated Abraham Lincoln page. Raab has also posted a helpful collecting guide, “What to Know about Buying Abraham Lincoln Autographs & Documents.” 

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